Rural round-up

February 19, 2015

Future dairy leaders – Sam Johnson:

Last week I was invited to speak to 60 graduates at Fonterra in Palmerston North. As New Zealand’s largest co-operative, Fonterra is seen as delivering significant economic value back into Aotearoa.

The 60 graduates I was privileged to speak to have all graduated at the top of their classes from various institutions around New Zealand. After graduating, they each spent two years working in various factories around the country, learning about everything; from milk production, the intricate details of making yoghurt to coming up with new ideas using their skills to streamline processes, ultimately seeking to improve the efficiency and success of Fonterra.

Before I arrived, each person delivered a 10-minute presentation on their project or thesis around their area of expertise. Then the debates began on whether or not the idea would save the company $10 million. While saving money didn’t appear to be the brief from the company, I was interested in how frequently the cost saving aspect was referenced. . .

Good progress in Auckland fruit fly operation:

Field work is ramping up in Auckland today in response to the detection earlier this week of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Grey Lynn.

MPI, along with response partners and Government Industry Agreement partners KVH and Pipfruit NZ, have responded swiftly.

Today a field team of more than 90 staff is setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area.

Field teams are also collecting samples of fruit from home gardens in the area to test for any flies or their eggs or larvae. . . .

Students making quads safer:

850 farmers are injured each year from quad bike accidents in New Zealand. Two to seven die. A group of young innovative entrepreneurs are launching a new, safe storage solution for carrying equipment on quad bikes. Launching this week, Flatpak is a bag that is specifically designed to easily attach onto the back of a quad bike. They are launching their pledge me campaign on the 18th of February. Here, customers are able to pre-order a limited edition Flatpak along with other rewards.

They are working to raise $40,000 to produce their first run of 100 Flatpaks! They need your help. . .

‘Tactics for Tight Times’ to be shared – Sally Rae:

DairyNZ has launched a campaign to help dairy farmers get through a tough season brought on by a low milk price and drought.

The declaration of drought conditions on the South Island’s east coast as a medium scale adverse event had highlighted the ”critical need” for extra support for farmers, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said.

”The milk price hit a six year low in December, and dry conditions have exacerbated the situation, forcing many farmers to make some pretty tough decisions, especially as they look to set themselves up for next season,” he said. . .

Aorangi Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final:

The second ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 28 February at the Aorangi Regional Final held in Oamaru.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive after a fantastic Regional Final in Queenstown over Waitangi weekend. Every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

 Tractor industry reports buoyant sales:

Waikato led the way in purchases of tractors in New Zealand during 2014, in a year when tractor sales approached record highs.

A total of 4061 tractors were purchased between January and December, including 3,419 of at least 40 horsepower (HP), the most common measure for farm tractors. The figure is significantly more than the 3065 40HP tractors bought in 2013.

Ian Massicks, president of the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) which gathers the sales data, said a combination of the record dairy payouts last year and good growing conditions were key to farmers investing in new equipment. . .

 

And Spring Rolls into Summer:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 109 fewer farm sales (-19.3%) for the three months ended January 2015 than for the three months ended January 2014. Overall, there were 455 farm sales in the three months to end of January 2015, compared to 486 farm sales for the three months ended December 2014 (-6.4%) and 564 farm sales for the three months to the end of January 2014. 1,811 farms were sold in the year to January 2015, 1.0% more than were sold in the year to January 2014.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January 2015 was $27,997 compared to $22,664 recorded for three months ended January 2014 (+23.6%). The median price per hectare fell 2.7% compared to December. . .


Rural round-up

August 28, 2012

More milk. less impact achievable – Hugh Stringleman:

The technology exists to lift milk production and manage the environmental impacts of dairy industry development, according to soil scientist Ross Monaghan and environmental consultant Ciaran Keogh, both frontline speakers to the annual Environmental Defence Society conference session called Greening Farming.

Farmers need clear signals from industry leaders and strong extension networks to adopt best practice for environmental sustainability, according to AgResearch senior scientist Ross Monaghan.

“As a technocrat, I believe we have good management options and systems to manage our resources, grow our industries and yet reduce our environmental footprints, he said. . .

Ministry Formally Warns Growers Following Misuse Of Chemical Spray

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has completed an investigation into the misuse of the antibiotic streptomycin on kiwifruit, and 26 growers who admitted using the chemical outside the strict use conditions have been sent a formal warning letter.

The misuse of the compound constitutes a technical breach of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997.

MPI Director Compliance Dean Baigent says MPI approved the use of streptomycin on kiwifruit under strict use conditions to avoid any possibility of chemical residues occurring in fruit. The conditions included a maximum of three spray treatments onto leaves prior to vine flowering. . .

Hunterville Farmer Is The 2012 B+LNZ Young Rancher

Hunterville farmer Peter Fitz-Herbert has been awarded a Beef + Lamb New Zealand agricultural scholarship that will take him to the Five Nations Beef Alliance and Young Ranchers Programme being held in British Columbia, Canada next month.

Peter, who is the stock manager on the Fitz-Herbert family farm, will accompany Beef + Lamb New Zealand Northern North Island Director, James Parsons to the Five Nations Beef Alliance. It is made up of producer organisations from Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States and meets annually to discuss global issues and opportunities for the beef sector. . .

Risk expert: banks left farmers in dark –  Rob Stock:

Risk and derivative experts say banks, including ANZ National Bank and Westpac, should not have sold complex interest rate swaps to farmers.

Claims are also emerging that though swaps were sold as “interest rate risk management” tools, unsophisticated farmers lacked the expertise and tools to monitor their position, and were provided with little or no ongoing support or advice to manage their interest rate risks.

One of New Zealand’s best-known risk advisers, Roger Kerr from Asia-Pacific Risk Management, said he believed at least a proportion of the swaps were sold to farmers who did not know what they were buying. . .

Farmers’ bid to revisit divorce deal rejected – Matt Nippert:

A New Plymouth farmer has lost a Court of Appeal bid to recalculate his divorce settlement after judges ruled his sudden recovery from a brain injury and a rapid rise in farm property values could not have been anticipated.

Neil Johnston had been appealing a decision ruling against his claim against a law firm and his court-appointed property manager claiming a five-year delay in settling his divorce left him $780,000 out of pocket. . .

Kiwifruit executive has his hands full – Jamie Ball:

Not even six months in the job but it’s been a week of reckoning for Barry O’Neill, Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) chief executive.

But, cometh the hour cometh the man. The discovery ofPsa-V in two Waikato orchards last week might have taken the wind out of many a sail, but not Mr. O’Neill. It is, after all, what the independent pan-industry organisation was established to minimize in 2010.

With a lengthy career in the biosecurity sector within New Zealand and overseas behind him, Mr. O’Neill, is taking the Psa challenge head-on. . .

Data to be shared in sheep measles’ fight

Confidential information about sheep and deer farmers collected for stopping the spread of sheep measles is about to be shared to strengthen biosecurity in New Zealand.

Ovis Management project manager Dan Lynch said 20,000 sheep and deer farmers’ contact details were obtained from meatworks and held in a confidential database to help control the spread of sheep measles.

The Primary Industries Ministry managed FarmsOnLine and wanted the database details so there could be a swift response in the event of an exotic disease outbreak, such as foot and mouth, he said. “The benefits far outweigh the issues.” . . .

Poppy crop trials continuing – Gerald Piddock:

Australian company Tasmanian Alkaloids is still two to three years away from deciding whether to push for growing pharmaceutical poppies on a commercial basis.

The company has conducted trials of several varieties of the poppies in Canterbury at an undisclosed location, beginning in 2009.

The trials are moving slowly and that decision was still being evaluated, Tasmanian Alkaloids operations manager Rick Rockliff said. . .

Many queries still over plan – Gerald Piddock:

A group of South Canterbury farmers have been left with plenty to ponder as they come to terms with the implications of Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Plan.

The plan would see new limits brought in on water quality established at a regional and sub-regional level through the zone committees of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.  . .

Rain enough for all but Southland – Annette Scott:

Paddling a kayak out to check on cows has been just one of the challenges faced by southern farmers coping with the rain deluge over the past couple of weeks.

While many regions of the South Island, including Southland, were facing drought conditions following the extreme dry of June and July, that has been rectified at least in Canterbury and Otago.

With up to 300mm of rain recorded in North Otago over the past three weeks, 250mm in South Canterbury and 200mm in Mid Canterbury, most farmers are ready for the sun to dry up sodden farmlands. Southland has capacity for more rain with just 3mm recorded in Gore and 7mm in Invercargill. . .


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